We know that our Founder and CEO, Stephanie is truly a #Superwoman in every sense of the word.
Bed Rest Concierge: Mom’s experience leads to $3.8M business
Twenty-six weeks of bed rest can put your life on hold, or it can start you on a path to a new adventure
- Katy Roden, Staff Writer
Sometimes Stephanie Johnson needs help, and she’s not afraid to admit it.
That’s what happens when you’re a CEO, entrepreneur, speaker, author, dance teacher, mother and bed rest maternity expert.
During Johnson’s 26-week maternity bed rest a couple years ago, she realized that although she was confined to a hospital bed, everything else in her life was still moving.
Then she was struck with a business idea: The 20 percent of pregnant women placed on bed rest every year need assistance maintaining home and lifestyle.
“I’ve always believed in help,” Johnson said. “It’s always the best way to have what you want. I think Superwoman had help; somebody had to make that costume.”
Three months after delivering her daughter, Harlow Grace, on March 28, 2011, Johnson founded Bed Rest Concierge.
A $4,000 loan from her husband got the company rolling. By 2012, the venture grew to a value of $3.8 million catering to the whims of North Texas moms-to-be.
Bed Rest Concierge, headquartered in Plano, has satellites in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Johnson plans to franchise storefronts across the country with the company’s products, such as a pre-packed hospital “survival kit” of chocolates, teas, fragrances and maternity gown-friendly lotions packed in a bright, patterned bag.
Johnson says rapid growth came from dropping the original bed rest-only niche of her business model. Once Johnson made Bed Rest Concierge’s brand about herself and marketed her personal story of desperation, it resonated with women and became tangible.
“You have to let go of the guilt that a lot of moms feel when you can’t do it all and you have to call (for) help,” Johnson said. “That doesn’t make you less of a mother, it doesn’t make you less of a woman. It makes you very smart, actually.”
Johnson has 15 years of corporate finance experience working for Dr Pepper and as an accounting manager for the American Airlines Center. She also danced for a company in London for three years after graduating from high school, an experience Johnson said gave her confidence to pursue her dreams.
Bed Rest Concierge serves anywhere from one to 50 clients per month. Johnson has never gone a month without a client, but holidays such as Christmas and New Years generate more clients.
Nicole Ryba used Johnson’s service for six weeks when she was seven months pregnant with her first child. Ryba, who works in sales, had no family in the area and hired Bed Rest Concierge to run errands and help her get off her feet.
“They gave me peace of mind,” Ryba said. “There was someone else there to help that can come in anytime; it was somebody to lean on.”
Amy Friedman, 39, called Bed Rest Concierge for help during her high-risk pregnancy. “I work, so it was difficult for me to give up my independence,” said the small business administrator.
Prices start around $100 for such services as a manicure/pedicure, grocery run or facial. Bed Rest Concierge offers the “darling delivery” package, which includes grooming, waxing, hair and makeup for a mother on the day she sees her baby. Other services can cost up to $50,000, such as a personal concierge, celebrity nursery design, baby-proofing or baby shower.
Johnson has received requests ranging from larger televisions in hospital rooms to creating a girl nursery design in 48 hours from parents who did not want to know the baby’s gender prior to delivery.
Johnson and her business have been featured on talk shows Bethenny and Ellen. Bethenny Frankel, the founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails, was a huge inspiration for Johnson. Other maternity concierges are stepping into the spotlight, including London-born Rosie Pope, the star of Bravo network’s “Pregnant in Heels.”
Johnson’s goal is to grow the company to a value of $20 million. She’s anticipating the release of her book “Life, Business and the Pursuit of Having It All!” and has speaking engagements booked through fall of 2014.
“The industry is growing and expanding as more and more women experience complicated pregnancies,” said Darline Turner, bed rest coach, owner and founder of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. Many women are starting their families later in life and using assisted reproductive technologies, Turner said.
“Bed rest support and concierge services are necessary because medical care only attends to the medical issues of the pregnancy. When a woman goes on bed rest, her entire life is instantly put in flux. She can no longer work, care for her family, tend to her community obligations or even prepare for her pending arrival,” she said. “Bed rest support and concierge services fill in these psychosocial/lifestyle deficits, helping women relax knowing their life activities are being tended to.”
“The greatest gift we have is time, and if I’m able to do something that takes laundry off of your plate or grocery shopping off of your plate, I’m giving you the gift of time with your children, the gift of time that you won’t ever get back,” Johnson said. “That gift of time that service provides, it’s immeasurable. This service is really to empower women. We are here to help you work towards having it all, because we want you to have it all.”
BUSINESS: Personal services
TOP EXECUTIVE: Stephanie Johnson, founder, CEO
EMPLOYEES: 10 direct, 100+ contracted
VALUE: $3.8 million